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The Species-Appropriate Diet of the Cat

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„Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals "love" them. But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more.“
Edwin Way Teale
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Should you have any questions on this topic, we will be happy to provide you with comprehensive advice. 

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Some cats are happily purring couch potatoes, others are inquisitive neighbourhood explorers. Irrespective of whether you have a homebody or an outdoor adventurer, the following holds true - by nature your cat is a hunter which preys on animals in the wild. 

Superstition notwithstanding, every cat really only has one life, so it is up to us humans to provide a species-appropriate diet for these little carnivores and to respect their needs.
In nature cats eat various small meals each day. Every scrap of the mice, birds, fish and insects they catch are eaten, including offal, stomach contents, bones and fur. This provides cats with everything they need to live, which are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fibre and liquid. A varied mixed feed with wet food, some fresh meat and a little dry food is ideal for a house cat, and well suited to everyday life.

Meat is the basis of healthy cat nutrition

Every cat is a carnivore by nature. Meat is therefore the most important component in their diet. Healthy cat nutrition without meat is inconceivable, but the secret is having the right blend. The percentage of meat in a cat’s menu is crucial. For species-appropriate conditions a cat needs at least 80 to 85 percent meat in its meal every day in order to absorb vital nutrients and avoid deficiency symptoms. When humans eat well they keep well. Cats also appreciate tasty food and feel well when their hunger is satisfied with all the important nutrients.

Felins Plus® Meal Rolls 

Feeding a cat a vegetarian diet is contrary to nature

Many people are vegetarian out of conviction, and some think they can feed their beloved pet the same way. But watch out! A purely vegetarian diet is unnatural and harmful to cats! Their bodies are designed to digest meat. Cats need meat to absorb vital nutrients. If a house cat is fed a purely vegetarian diet it needs a lot of dietary supplements. Even if, in theory the cat is getting all the important nutrients it needs, it won’t enjoy vegetarian food because this is simply not its natural way of eating. We would therefore strongly advise against feeding cats a purely vegetarian diet.

Healthy cat nutrition with proteins, fats and carbohydrates

For a long and healthy life, a cat needs a species-appropriate balanced diet. The nutrients which cats need as part of a healthy diet include proteins, fats and carbohydrates. High-quality proteins of animal origin are important for building bones and giving cats a glossy coat. Vital fats ensure a sound metabolism.

Taurine is an essential building block to healthy feline nutrition

Taurine is an organic acid within an amino group. In human and animal metabolism taurine is responsible for the formation of bile acid. This means that taurine is directly associated with a healthy metabolism and a functioning digestive system. There hasn’t been any conclusive scientific proof, but taurine can help in supporting the central nervous system and promoting muscle development. Unlike dogs, cats only create small amounts of taurine in their bodies. It is therefore absolutely essential that they get taurine from their food. If not, they may suffer from deficiencies resulting in blindness, infertility or deafness. The best natural source of taurine for cats is raw red meat, especially lean meat and offal such as liver or brain. Hearts are also rich in taurine, preferably chicken hearts fed raw several times a week. A healthy alternative is green-lipped mussel powder, which contains natural taurine.

How much water does a cat need?

Two thirds of a cat’s body consist of water. A cat satisfies its need for moisture almost exclusively through its diet, so it does not drink much by instinct. It is not good for their moisture balance if cats prefer dry food and consistently refuse to touch wet food. In principle an adult cat needs between 40 and 50 millilitres of water per kilogram of body weight. This means that a cat weighing five kilograms should be drinking around 200 millilitres of water in addition to its feed. But don’t panic if the water bowl remains untouched. Many cats drink unobtrusively from unintended sources, for example from flower vases. It is important for your cat’s diet to consist mainly of wet food, with dry food only playing a supplementary part in the meal. If you are worried that your cat is not drinking enough, you can check whether its water reserves are depleted using a simple test. Pull up a fold of skin at the nape of the cat’s neck. If this does not go away immediately when you let go, you should consult a vet to be on the safe side. Kidney complaints can result from cats drinking too little on a permanent basis.

BARF as a form of species-appropriate food for cats

BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding. In addition to meat and offal, BARF includes vegetables, fruit and herbs. In principle, this type of diet is healthy for cats, as it doesn’t contain unwanted additives like sugar. There is still the risk of under or over supplying important nutrients. Feeding is also time consuming and using high-quality fresh meat can push up the cost.

Food supplements for cats

Felins Plus® for healthy cat nutrition

With Felins Plus® Meal Rolls you are providing your little predator holistically with everything it needs. The four different flavours – beef, chicken, rabbit and pollock are sure to impress and are balanced complete foods which meet the needs of every cat. To supplement wet food or BARF you can serve cold pressed Felins Plus® Dry Food to provide some variety. Naturavetal® Felins Plus® Cat Food ensures that you are providing a healthy, species-appropriate diet for your cat. Cats’ eyes play a part too! As discerning gourmets, your feline friends pay a lot of attention to crockery. They prefer eating from natural containers like glass, earthenware or porcelain. Cats drink best when their water is not immediately beside their food bowl.

Further information and frequently asked questions (FAQ) about species appropriate nutrition for cats

How to recognise good cat food?

A good cat food contains only high-quality ingredients and is free from unnecessary additives. Since cats are solely carnivorous, the main component of its diet should be meat. As a former desert animal, the cat has always obtained liquid from its prey. Thus, the best food for a cat is always a wet food, such as our Felins Plus® Meal Rolls

If you want to feed a dry food, it should only be a supplement to the wet food. It should also have a high meat content and be cold-pressed, i.e. show no swelling behaviour when it comes into contact with liquid, our Felins Plus® Poultry & Fish does not swell and cause bloating.

How often and how much food does a cat need per day?

The perfect amount of food for a cat depends on various factors such as age, activity level and body weight. In addition, it makes a difference whether your cat can catch mice outside or whether you feed it exclusively on a ready-made cat food or BARF. You can find more information about the perfect amount to feed and further feeding tips here

What else can my cat eat besides cat food?

There are many things that your cat may like to eat. These include various types of fish and meat, as well as chewing snacks. If you would like to feed a BARF diet, cook for your cat, or put the meals together yourself, you can find suitable ingredients and instructions for cat BARF in our guide "First steps to BARF for the cat".

How do I recognise good cat food?

A good cat food should show the exact composition and contents clearly. The feed should consist exclusively of natural, high-quality ingredients and avoid unnecessary additives such as artificial preservatives and vitamins. Should the information in the composition say"... contains meat and animal by-products (including 5% chicken)", this is clearly not a good sign. This is because a species-appropriate food for the cat should contain at least 80% meat. This meat should be composed, for the most part, of muscle meat and heart, plus a small proportion of offal. 

You can find more information on feeding your cat in a species-appropriate way in our cat guide.

Wet or dry food for the cat?

The cat is a pure carnivore and since time immemorial it has always acquired most of its daily liquid needs through its prey. For this reason, a wet food, such as the Felins Plus® Meal Rolls, is always the best food for cats. The Meal Rolls contain more than 85% meat and also provide the cat with sufficient liquid. However, if you work during the day and are looking for a dry food alternative that you can feed in addition to wet food, then we recommend that you feed a cold pressed dry food.  Cold pressed dry food does not swell up in the digestive tract and bind liquid there. Felins Plus® Poultry & Fish is ideal here as a supplement to the Meal Rolls or BARF.

Can cats drink milk?

It is actually not common for mammals to drink milk for longer than they are suckled by their mother. With increasing age, most mammals become less able to utilise lactose, which can be noticeable through soft faeces. However, if necessary, it can be especially useful if you offer milk to your cat. Goat's milk, for example, contains many valuable nutrients and has an easily digestible fat content. So it can make a valuable contribution to health, for example, your cat is weakened or in a recovery phase.

Which milk is best for cats?

Most cats tolerate goat's milk very well. Goat’s milk is composed of short and medium chain fatty acids, which ensure that it is easier to digest as opposed to cow's milk. Felins Plus® Whole Goat’s Milk Powder is easy to feed, just add some lukewarm water to the goat’s milk powder and stir. You can also mix the pure goat's milk powder into your cat's food.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us by phone. We are here to help you with comprehensive advice. You can reach us Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. by phone at 020 8531 7804 or mail info@naturavetal.co.uk.

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